Set Yourself on Fire

When a friend procured a copy of this CD and tried to get me to listen, I rudely declined because I had “things to do.” After my recent consumption of this rapturously good disc, I owe that friend an apology, because listening to him would’ve bought me a few more weeks of musical bliss. I had enjoyed Stars’ excellent 2004 effort, Heart, and was well aware of what these Canadians are capable of doing. While Heart contained some of the more exuberant pop/rock I had heard in a while, Fire actually tops it. This band is jaunty, joyous and even a little brutal, all within the span of one track. Sumptuous strings and keyboards augment almost every song, with vocalists Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell providing compelling duets and solo tracks. An album so full of beautiful passages and hooks seems impossible. Standout songs include “Ageless Beauty” and “He Lied About Death.”